Ferrari wrong to promote Leclerc in 2019 - Villeneuve

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The always opinionated Jacques Villeneuve has chimed in on Charles Leclerc's prospects for next season and the rumors of his likely move up the ladder to a plum Ferrari drive.

According to Italy's La Gazzetta dello Sport, the House of Maranello has signed Leclerc to a two-year deal from 2019, replacing Kimi Raikkonen.

Villeneuve however sees the move as premature and potentially a risky proposition for the Scuderia.

"I think it's too early for him," the 1997 world champion told Auto Bild in Austria.

"On the one hand Ferrari risks burning him, if he is beaten by Vettel. And on the other hand they need an experienced second driver, and Kimi Raikkonen is quite stable now.

"If Sebastian has to develop the car alone next year, that's a disadvantage," the Canadian added.

"I would give Leclerc another year to develop and learn."

Villeneuve said there is also no reason for Ferrari to rush to sign up the obviously impressive Monaco-born rookie.

"He's in Ferrari's junior team anyway with a contract," he said of Leclerc.

"So I don't see any reason to rush him into the A team. Because really we don't know how good he really is. He's only had Ericsson as a yardstick."

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